Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Guardians of the Groundwater

by Jennifer Wemhoff, The Groundwater Foundation

Groundwater Guardian and Groundwater Guardian Green Sites are two of The Groundwater Foundation’s most prestigious programs. They, and the people that participate in them, help the Foundation deliver our mission of educating people and inspiring action to ensure sustainable, clean groundwater for future generations.

I always enjoy reflecting back on the past year with these programs. There are always challenges, but more often, there are triumphs. In a year where funding for the work we all do is limited, I’m amazed at the resourcefulness, innovation, and commitment of the individuals that spearhead Groundwater Guardian efforts and the groundwater-friendly practices on Green Sites.

Mostly, I like to reflect on the collective impact of the work that Groundwater Guardians and Green Sites do. Though the teams and sites that participate in the programs are as varied as can be, all are working – on their own, and all together – toward a common goal of groundwater protection and education. This is my favorite part of being involved in these programs – knowing that people in Oregon and Florida and Maryland and California and places in between are coming together, perhaps without even knowing it, to be advocates for their community’s groundwater. I hope all Groundwater Guardians and Green Sites know and understand that they are part of something larger than what happens in their town and on their site. They are part of a cooperative effort by citizens, educators, turfgrass professionals, mayors, golf course superintendents, city council members, park superintendents, utility managers, and many more to ensure that groundwater is understood and protected.

We at The Groundwater Foundation thank our Groundwater Guardian teams and Groundwater Guardian Green Sites for all that they do for groundwater.

Get your community or site involved in these programs today! Visit and click on the Groundwater Guardian or Green Site logos to learn more and see how you can be a part of this Groundwater Guardian movement!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Hindsight is 20/20

by Jane Griffin, Groundwater Foundation President

While it is great to learn from history it doesn’t work so well when your mission is to protect. Protection implies proactive efforts, not clean up.

Unfortunately, remediating unintended consequences is a big part of our efforts. Look at what we are finding after decades of flushing pharmaceuticals down the drain.

Now, questions are arising regarding the procedure of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas; or fracking as it is often referred to.

What chemicals are being released that could contaminate groundwater supplies? What implications will this have on water quality and quantity?

Organizations are mobilizing to study and predict the implications. But will the demand for natural gas continue to grow at a rate that precludes adequate studies and prevention measures to be put in place?

Information about the procedure is already out there. We at The Groundwater Foundation believe that knowledge is the first tool towards protection, so take a couple of minutes to educate yourself about the procedure - make yourself aware of what is happening, because it is important to you. It’s the water you drink. It’s the water that grows your food; the water that recharges your streams and lakes.

Here are a couple of excellent resources:

If you have any further information about fracking please share it with us!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Leaping into groundwater!

In October I wrote about one of my first experiences with a local middle school garden club and future plans to “LEAP in to groundwater” with these students. So what has happened since my first meeting with the students? They have learned a lot and next we will jump into the educate portion of LEAP. Here’s what we have been up to…

We have talked a lot about water in the past month! We have built groundwater models, played games about the water cycle, planted seeds in a terrarium and talked about groundwater as a part of the water cycle and as an important resource in growing plants and food. We’ve discussed water quality including impacts of the rain garden they planted at their school, water borne diseases, and turbidity. They have learned about potential groundwater contamination sources including over-applied fertilizer, improperly abandoned wells, leaking underground storage tanks, sink holes, and improperly operated landfills through constructing models and demonstrating these issues. We have also built filters and learned how difficult it can be to “clean” water.

The students brainstormed ideas on how they could take what they have learned and educate others. Some think a skit would be a fun way to spread the word about the importance of groundwater. Others want to make a video or visit the elementary school they attended to share the message with younger students. Their next step will be to decide which educate idea is the best for them and how to best move forward with their idea.
I will keep you posted on their education efforts as well as what type of groundwater stewardship/protection action they want to pursue.
If you would like to LEAP into groundwater check out the LEAP website at,

Until next time, happy LEAPing!